True Love: Known for What it Offers, Not What it Demands
Love is not control, nor demand. Love is freedom and trust. However, emotional slavery is much more common than we would like or expect it to be.
We understand the theory of love, but we fail in putting it into practice. Who would dare to say to their partner that they don’t need them, but rather that they prefer life with them? Practically nobody.
“Throughout my whole life, I have understood love as slavery by consent.
But it is not like this: freedom only exists when love exists. He who gives himself over completely, he who feels free, loves the deepest.
And he who loves deepest, feels free. But in love, we are each responsible for how it feels, and we cannot blame the other person for it.
Nobody can lose another person, because nobody possesses any other person.
And this is the true experience of freedom: Having that which is deemed most important, and possessing nothing.”
Eleven Minutes, by Paulo Coelho
We become a slave or enslaver because we don’t fully understand what it means to say to another person “I can’t live without you.” As soon as we articulate these words and other similar expressions, we are suppressing our partner.
There is no doubt that it is a subtle suppression. Our actual intention is not to make our loved one responsible for our happiness or our life. However, by expressing this subtle expectation, we are disrupting the balance of love.
Sometimes we don’t fall in love, we enslave ourselves
The truth is that love and dependence are so strongly at odds with each other that if they coexist, they destroy each other. In other words, if love becomes an emotional prison, although one might stay in the relationship, love darkens and gives way to dependence.
However, it takes us so long to realize that we have laid a poor foundation in our relationship that we give up demanding of our destiny that something change in order for us to be happy.
We have the mentality that love has to be like a fairy tale, with princes and princesses, and always with a happy ending. However, this idea of “being happy and living happily every after” only ends well if the actors play their roles right.
In this sense, we feel right in conforming in a certain way because of the security we feel with someone by our side. Nevertheless, the only ones who can truly lead us to happiness and stability in life are ourselves.
We must be the whole fruit, not half the orange
“They made us believe that each and every one of us is half an orange, and that life only has meaning once we have found the other half. They didn’t tell us that we are already born whole, and that nobody should carry on their back the responsibility to give us that which we are missing…”
Love is true when we neither explicitly nor implicitly demand of others to love us or do something for us. What is truly healthy is the offering and exchange of affection and care. That is to say, an equal and balanced giving and receiving of love by both parties.
Love will last as long as we care for it. For this reason it is so important to analyze what it is that we want from ourselves and our relationships. In this way, we will be able to be more just in our actions and words, and achieve balance.
Loving oneself is not a privilege to be enjoyed by a few lucky people. Rather it is a prize that is forever within our reach. We can love, and even adore, our partner, but it must always be in a way that allows us to continue growing and caring for our own self-esteem. Furthermore, it must allow both people to mature as individuals and as a couple.
Having this clear means fully respecting oneself and guaranteeing that the relationship will work and there will be no mutual suppression. If this is understood well and always kept in mind, subjugation of this kind can be avoided. In love, not everything is allowed, let alone demanded.